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If you’re new here, my OneWord for 2020 is YES. In the interest of staying accountable to my year of YES, I am providing a monthly recap of how I am doing. Click here to see all the posts. 

year of yes

July marked four months of quarantine for me. My city is in Phase 2 of re-entry. However, a lot of people are acting as if we are not in the middle of a pandemic. Therefore, I am choosing to remain sheltered in place. Despite all of that, I found plenty of opportunities to lean into my Year of Yes during July.

BIPOC Grounded Gathering

The Grounded Gathering is another virtual healing circle I had the opportunity to join in July. I’m still participating in the Emotional Emancipation Healing Circle, which is for Black people only. The Grounded Gathering is for all Black Indigenous People of Color and meets weekly.

It has been wonderful for my soul to gather with other people of color. Each week, we break into small groups where I’ve had a chance to connect with people from around the world. It’s incredibly affirming to hear others share similar challenges navigating the racism and racial unrest in the world right now especially here in the US.

This circle, like the Emotional Emancipation circle, is healing for my soul.

Well-Read Black Girl Book Club

Well-Read Black Girl is a book club dedicated to Black women authors. It was started by the author of a book by the same name. The book is a fantastic read featuring a variety of black female voices on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.

There are several book clubs around the country. The one closest to me is a bit of a drive and when I was finally able to join the world shut down. Thankfully, they’ve moved to a virtual meeting space and we had our first meeting in July. We read The Vanishing Half and I highly recommend it.

Next up is Kindred by Octavia Butler, one of the first sci-fi books written by a black author featuring black characters. I can’t wait to launch into it.

I’m an avid reader and focusing on Black authors is everything for me right now.

Summit Interview

My year of Yes has included multiple opportunities to do podcast/summit interviews. In July I had an opportunity to participate in another online summit. This one was on thriving after trauma.

I spoke on thriving in a racially divided world. Too many people underestimate the trauma Black and brown people face every day in this world. From the tiny cuts of microaggressions to the overt trauma of being harassed simply because of the color of your skin. It’s exhausting!

During this interview, I shared how both BIPOC and white people can thrive in this world. BIPOC by taking care of ourselves and being with our people while we work for change. White and white-passing by recognizing that your liberation is tied to ours. So, you must work to bring down those divides too. It was a wonderful conversation.

Doing these interviews brings me a great deal of joy. Grateful to have had so many opportunities this year, including this one last month.


Disney+ has done right by the people during this pandemic. First, releasing Frozen 2 early back in March and then giving us Hamilton at the beginning of July.

Nobody who knows me is surprised I spent July watching this musical MULTIPLE times. It is so good; well written and well-acted. I’ve had the soundtrack for a couple of years but hearing and seeing them on stage is different altogether. The facial expressions of the actors take every song to another level. So much joy for me. I’m smiling even as I’m writing about it. This was an easy yes for me 😊. 

Self-Care Recommitment

Hamilton has been a huge source of joy for me and I needed it in July. I had a couple of not-great weeks last month. More than once I struggled to find something that brought me joy.

After four months of being quarantined, I think I’ve noticed a pattern where grief and sorrow slam into me about every 6 weeks or so. It happened back at the end of April/beginning of May and it happened again in July.

Last month, I recognized that I had allowed some of my self-care practices to fall by the wayside. I now know that part of managing this wave of grief and sorrow is making sure I’m tending to myself regularly.

I’m back on track with my practices and I trust that knowing this pattern, I’m better equipped to manage it next time around.

All in all, July was a good month. My year of Yes continues to surprise me in good and interesting ways.

Now, I’d like to hear from you. How was July for you? What surprised and/or delighted you last month? I’d love to hear in the comments below or you can email me at makeda(at)makedapennycooke(dot)com.

From my heart to yours,

Rise Into YOUR Greatness

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